Huge Amber Deposit Discovered In India

There should be an image here!Those who are proud to have a piece of amber that holds a little animal trapped in it maybe should not continue to read this. For what can be seen in the millions of years-old tree resin is almost always just a paper-thin façade. If sliced down the middle, you would find no more than a hollow space covered in some sort of “insect photo wallpaper.”

This does not apply to the amber Bonn paleontologist Professor Dr. Jes Rust and his colleagues have been looking at for two years. The lumps that resemble herbal cough drops are “full of it,” containing numerous insect bodies, some of which are extremely well preserved, despite the fact that they have been there for 50 million years. Better yet: The petrified resin is also very easily convinced to release its contents again. “The amber has not been completely polymerized, allowing it to be dissolved easily,” explains Rust. They have so far found more than 700 arthropods from 55 different genera — mostly insects, but also spiders, mites, and plant parts.

The dirty brown lumps come from the coast of the NW India’s Gujarat province. Their contents cast a new light on the history of the sub-continent, which is said to have “broken off” from the East African land mass 160 million years ago to float through the oceans in isolation — at the high speed of about 20 centimeters per year. And only about 50 million years ago, India collided with Asia in a crash that caused the land to fold up into the Himalayas.

If that were true, India would have been completely isolated for 100 million years. This time should have been sufficient to give rise to a unique flora and fauna. The Indian amber was formed 53 million years ago. So it shows, similar to an old photo, what life looked like in India just before the collision with the Asian continent. This snapshot should then primarily show animal species that do not exist elsewhere.

Island-hopping before the big crash

But just that is not the case: Similar insect fossils as in Gujarat have also been found in Europe and even in Central America. “This indicates that there was a lively exchange of species before our amber formed,” Rust thinks. There may have been long chains of volcanic islands on the border between the continental plates — just like in Japan or Indonesia today. The insect species in India and Asia could have mingled by “island-hopping” — and also many million years before the big crash. And from Asia, they would then have spread further.

But the amber itself also raises questions. While it happens rather frequently that plants or animals get stuck in tree resin and end up covered by it, they usually decay over time. “In our amber, however, some resin component seems to have preserved the insects,” says Rust.

In addition, the resin obviously comes from the family of Dipterocarpaceae, which today has its main range in the Indo-Malayan region. Until now it was thought that this type of plant had its heyday 25 million years ago. Jes Rust comments, “The Indian amber proves that extensive tropical forests of Dipterocarpaceae must already have existed there more than 50 million years ago. That is a big surprise.”

Jes Rust @ University of Bonn


Indian Firms Seek A CDMA iPhone

There should be an image here!Ah yes, the famed and mythical CDMA iPhone that will someday over the rainbow make a magical, leprechaun-like appearance. About the only truth in that is it would cost a pot of gold to get this to completion based on progress I’ve seen thus far. Nevertheless, this article indicates that Indian firms are “in talks” to get their hands on an iPhone supporting CDMA technology.

Now let me explain why I think India may have a real shot of making this happen. If going with CDMA is what it takes to get India on board with the iPhone in a very big way, you better believe Apple would be all over that. Next to China, they are one of the fastest growing mobile markets out there to date.

Once you bundle this with the expected revenue to be had by all involved, I think we might see India as the country that pushes Apple into going CDMA just a little quicker. GSM has been fun on AT&T here in the States and all, but I think it’s time to diversify a little bit. We’ve been hearing about how the iPhone is going to be coming to Verizon’s own CDMA network. Maybe this will finally be a way to make that happen?

Which Countries Hold The Top Spots For Internet Usage?

No Surprise That China Holds The Top Spot

It is now estimated that some 1.8 billion people from around the world now have access to the Internet. The importance of the Internet has over shadowed any other medium including that of television. TV is limited to a one way presentation, whereas the Internet provides the user with a way to communicate with others from around the world. In a recent article it also stated that:

Here are some standout facts and observations that give additional perspective to the Internet usage of the top countries on the Internet.

  • There are a total of 1.8 billion Internet users in the world.
  • There are 32 countries with more than 10 million Internet users.
  • The top 10 countries on the Internet together have 1.17 billion Internet users. That’s 65% of all Internet users in the world.
  • The top 20 countries on the Internet together have 1.47 billion Internet users. That’s just under 82% of all Internet users.
  • India is the fourth largest country in terms of Internet users in spite of having an Internet penetration of a measly 6.9%. This thanks to its huge population.
  • China takes the top spot both in terms of population and Internet users. China has almost twice (1.8x) as many Internet users as the United States.
  • China together with the United States, the top two countries, make up half of the Internet users in the top 15.
  • Out of the top 20 countries, the five with the highest Internet penetration (not users) are: United Kingdom (82.5%), South Korea (81.1%), Germany (79.1%), Japan (78.2%), United States (76.3%).

By Internet penetration, we mean the share of the population made up of Internet users.

If one looks at China with a population of 1.3 billion people, it is easy to see that there is a large potential for future expansion of Internet users in that country. Whereas others countries like the U.S. may not see limited growth when it comes to Internet users. We can call China the new frontier.

Comments welcome.

Source – pingdom

Lady Gaga Gets It – Downloading Her Music Is OK With Her, Even If Unauthorized

Lady Gaga gets it and says that downloading her music is good for her career. She even thinks that unauthorized downloads work, as well. Here is a musician who gets it. She understands that the money is in touring and sponsorship, not how much money is lost by downloads of her music. Which makes one wonder: when is the RIAA going to adjust its thinking?

A recent article also states:

Lady Gaga admits she’s fine with people downloading her music in unauthorized forms because she makes it up in touring revenue:

She explains she doesn’t mind about people downloading her music for free, “because you know how much you can earn off touring, right? Big artists can make anywhere from $40 million [£28 million] for one cycle of two years’ touring. Giant artists make upwards of $100 million. Make music — then tour. It’s just the way it is today.” Similarly, she knocks bands that don’t really try to work hard to please the fans, and who just expect them to automatically buy each album:

“I hate big acts that just throw an album out against the wall, like ‘BUY IT! F*** YOU!’ It’s mean to fans. You should go out and tour it to your fans in India, Japan, the UK. I don’t believe in how the music industry is today. I believe in how it was in 1982.”

Like Mariah Carey, it looks like Lady Gaga has realized that this concept of connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy works at the superstar level just as much as it does down at the indie artist level. The specifics of implementing a business model around the concept are very, very different — but the core concept remains the same. Treat your fans right, learn to leverage what’s infinite to make something scarce more valuable, and then sell the scarcity.

I believe that what Lady Gaga is doing is eventually going to be the norm of the future. The Internet has changed the way we look at the world and the people who adjust to this will be the winners. Once the old fogies die off and people get their heads out of their butts trying to use any old business model from the horse and buggy days, the sooner we can all move on.

Comments welcome.


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Dell Rep. From India Responds To U.S. ‘Assholes’

Back on October 7th, 2007 I wrote a piece about Dell closing a U.S. call center in which 500 folks lost their jobs. [Original post here] Some people responded to the article in a negative tone citing their unfortunate experiences with Dell. The main focus was of those who commented was to share their experiences in what happened when they tried to communicate with a Dell rep. in India. Language problems seemed to be the main stumbling block.

Yesterday I received this comment from some one who stated they were a Dell Representative in India. I did in fact check the IP address and yes it did come back to New Delhi, India. Though this confirms the location it does not confirm that the person who commented really works for Dell. Here is what the comment said:

Hey Ron,

I stumbled upon this post accidentally, I’m one of those “Non-English speaking” Dell Technical support based in India serving the “great American clients” . I’ve been working with Dell for 6 years now and in my 6 years long career I’ve encountered countless, complete assholes for customers.

Customers who are utterly dishonest, trying to dupe Dell. Customers who are racists and make such mean comments, all that while we are trying to help them with issues. Customers who are way too much abusive and need some serious anger management. We deal with them all the time with a fake smile and politeness.

Dell has a warranty that ensures that your all tech support calls will be routed only to north American region where you will talk to “real English speaking” dudes.
if you or Charlie or Denny or Frank or Jack or whoever doesn’t wish to get routed to India, buy that warranty man, you’ll all be good.

Why so fuss about it? Buy that warranty and help your country and your people. Please do that, I request you, and please ask all Charlies, Dennies, Jacks and Farnks to buy it.

Interesting. So I emailed Denny and Goose and asked that they respond. Denny stated the following:

Hey Ron,

I stumbled upon this post accidentally, I’m one of those “Non-English speaking” Dell Technical support based in India serving the “great American clients” . I’ve been working with Dell for 6 years now and in my 6 years long career I’ve encountered countless, complete assholes for customers
But I wont Need Yur warranty . NO . MOE
I Don’t buy Dell anymore . BUT – I – STILL – FIXE-UM

And sire, it takes so LONG to get back to someone, not LONE. ;)

That’s your free English lesson for the day, from a “Non-English speaking” pal.

Goose also responded and stated:

Geez Ron…..It took six years for this guy (Dellrep) to feel like this. It takes less than a minute for him to turn us “great American clients” into assholes when we call for support. In fact, I think I may have spoken to him on the phone…….speaking of assholes, he doesn’t know his from a hole in the ground! Last time I called Dell it took me at least 10 minutes for him to figure out that I was talking about my new Dell battery and not my computer.
As for having to pay extra to speak to someone in English, I do not even press 1 for English! What a great idea from Dell. That pretty much put the last nail in the coffin for my friends and I to even think about buying another Dell. As for this so called “Dellrep”, if Dell finds out who it is, he will be lucky to get promoted to McDonald’s………..

It seems that the tech and the consumers are both pissed off at each other. I believe if this guy is in fact a Dell employee that Dell is going to be in for more complaints about their customer service.  The one great thing about having a blog is that it provides me the opportunity to read the comments and the comments about Dell system for the most part have been negative.

So where do I stand? I have never personally owned a Dell system. There was a time when I recommended Dell systems to my clients. But that was about 8 years ago when they were noted for their great customer service. Unfortunately customer service took a back seat and Dell, like others, went to India for their tech support representatives.

But what do you think? If you own a Dell computer share your positive or negative comments with us.

Dell Closes Another Support Center

Dell is closing a support center in El Salvador that employs 900 people. In the article about the closing it stated that the call center provided assistance for those living in South America. Though the article didn’t state where support would be provided from, one could guess that India would be a good choice. After all, we want our Latin friends to suffer the pains of hell when calling India for support, just like we do here in the U.S. :-)

This did bring up another thought.You may recall previous articles in which I had mentioned about buying a business system from Dell, and not a home system. Business systems come with support still here in the U.S. and you avoid the language problem when having to call India.

In addition it is also said by some that you get better service for anything you wish to do at Dell, when you are a business customer instead of a home user.

Comments welcome.

Dell source

New Cars From Skoda Set to Hit India’s Marketplace

Czech automaker, Skoda, is planning on expanding their market share in India, in the hopes of making it amongst their top-five global markets.

According to Thomas Kuehl an India Member of the Board of Sales and Marketing for Skoda the company hopes to introduce between four and eight new models to India over the course of the next three to five years. He went on to state that they are looking at introducing SUV’s to this market despite the current need for conserving energy and protecting the environment from carbon emissions. However, the they are also looking at introducing a small car in the price range of 3 to 5 Lakh that could compete with the Hyundai 110 and the Chevrolet Spark.

Others models to be introduced by the Czech manufacturer include a Superb sedan and a sporty version of the Fabia hatchback which should be priced around Rs 10 lakh.

Skoda’s projection of sales for these models looks to nearly double current Skoda sales to 20,000 units the year that they are introduced while they see future sales possibilities unlimited as wages continue to increase in India.

Additional vehicles being planned in the next two to three year period include a replacement of their best-selling model the Octavia sedan that they hope will provide a totally new car for the global market, as well as, a station wagon version of their current hatchback Fabia. They anticipate being able to produce 30,000 units in India thus providing jobs that will enable even more Indian citizens to buy their vehicles.

India Now Outsources Its Own Outsourcing

Are you a recent college graduate and looking for some additional programming training? Well many are now heading to India for a six months and then returning to the US. India is now a world model of outsourcing and other countries are standing in line to get their people trained from what may be considered the worlds best. Here are some of the finer points as presented in an article by

MYSORE, India–Thousands of Indians report to Infosys Technologies’ campus here to learn the finer points of computer programming. Lately, though, fair-skinned foreigners have been roaming the manicured lawns, too. Many are recent college graduates from the United States, and some have even turned down job offers from employers like Google. Instead, they accepted a novel assignment from Infosys, the Indian technology giant: fly here for six months of training, and then return home to work in the company’s U.S. back offices.

India is outsourcing outsourcing.

One of the constants of the global economy has been companies moving their tasks – and jobs – to India. But rising wages here, a stronger currency, a demand for workers who speak languages other than English, and competition from countries looking to emulate India’s success as a back office – including China, Morocco and Mexico – are challenging that model.

Many executives here acknowledge that outsourcing will increasingly sprinkle tasks around the globe. Or, as Ashok Vemuri, an Infosys senior vice-president, put it, the future of outsourcing is “to take the work from any part of the world and do it in any part of the world.”

To fight on the shifting terrain, and to beat back their emerging rivals, leading Indian companies are hiring workers and opening offices in developing countries themselves, before their clients do.

It sounds like a great plan to me. What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Full article here.

[tags]india, training, outsources, outsourcing, training, [/tags]

Dell Introducing Laptop Computers For $238 – But Not In The US Market

I have read several articles including one from The Hindu News Update Service concerning Dell being in the process of selling laptop computers for $238. The article also states that Dell is looking into the China market and will be introducing a similar computer in the same price range. The article also states:

“The new products will have longer battery life, increased connectivity and performance,” according to Dell India General Manager (Sales), Sameer Garde, said on the sidelines of company’s product launch.

When I first read this article and several others covering Dell’s expansion to other countries, I had a few thoughts that popped into my head.

First thought was, I would venture a guess the new systems would not be equipped with Vista. So what kind of a OS would Dell be including on these cheap models?

Second thought was why aren’t these inexpensive computers being offered in the US market? I am sure that Dell will still be making a profit even selling these outside of the US. So why not here as well? For $238 I’d take one without a OS. :-)

Third thought I’m leaving for you? What is your take on this? Should the US get these cheapies as well?

Comments welcome.

Full article here.

[tags]dell, computers, india, laptops, [/tags]

Good news for US graduates? – India facing high-tech employee shortage

According to Tim Sullivan of the Associated Press India is cannot graduate students fast enough to meet the demand for high-tech employees. It appears that twenty years after India’s emergence as an international center for high technology it is now running out of workers to fill industry needs.

While from the outside, it may look like India has an endless supply of cheap labor the problem appears to be that out of the 400,000 new engineers that the country turns out per year only 100,000 of those are ready to enter the high-tech job market. Apparently, the major problem in training consists of poorly equipped schools (many without computer labs) that teach theory but forego the most basic communications skills. Mohandas Pai, human resources chief for Infosys Technologies states that the problem is not the availability of workers but rather the availability of trained workers. As a result, Infosys opened the Mysore campus to train their own employees laying out millions of dollars in a frantic attempt to ensure their profit-making machine continues to produce.

Since 2000, industry demand has increased from needing 50,000 new workers to estimates that by the year 2010 the industry will face a high-tech employee shortfall of 500,000 applicants to fill new positions. This situation is the result of the population being unable to keep up with a rapidly progressing high-tech market and its demand for high-end workers. American companies, doing business in India include Accenture and IBM both of which will need to hire masses of people before the year 2010. A shortage will mean higher wages, a situation that is feared in India since it could mean a shift of some jobs to Poland, the Philippines or even back to the states that could result in a destabilization of the India high-tech market.
[tags]India, High-tech, employee shortage, IBM, Accenture, Too few skilled workers[/tags]

Dell – Abandons U.S. Market – Moving To Other Countries

Interesting. Dell is exploring selling more computers in other countries such as China, India, and Brazil. There is even some talk about Dell selling systems to all of South America and even in Africa. So is Dell going to abandon the U.S. market place altogether?

It might not be so far fetched. We Americans are service oriented. We expect that when we have a problem with any appliance, including computers, when we pick up the phone we want immediate service from knowledgeable people. And Dell has suffered in this area for several years, costing it considerable market share.

Dell is even opening up a manufacturing plant to build systems inside of India. This should cut down on delivery time to the Indian people, who have previously been saddled with a 15-day waiting period from order date to delivery. And the big bonus is that if someone in India has a problem with a Dell system, they will actually be able to communicate with Dell technical support.

It gets better. China is the world’s largest marketplace and the Chinese are rapidly bidding for and getting oil supplies once destined for the U.S. They are willing to pay more for oil, so logically they may also be willing to pay more for computers. But here is the best part. The phone system in China suffers from poor quality, so even if someone wanted to call Dell technical support, they may have a hard time getting through. So instead of blaming Dell for poor customer support, they would blame the Chinese government for poor phone service!

South America. This is a dream come true for Dell. We have all seen pictures of “the Road Of Death’ that snakes through the mountains of South America. And if you look really closely, you never see a UPS or FedEx truck on any of these roads. That means if someone has a problem with their Dell system, it has to be put on one those those brightly painted blue or orange buses with the flowers painted on the side. Odds of the bus making it back to a Dell service center are slim to none. Then Dell can sell the person another computer.

Or let’s say one of those Dell laptops with the igniter, flame-throwing Sony battery actually catches fire? I mean, how much would it cost to replace a hut? This might even be a way for Dell to get rid of the four-million Sony batteries that are destined for the landfill. Put them in systems being shipped to overseas locations and call it ‘being green.’

So you see, bringing Michael back as top dog is going to prove to be a valuable move. He’s already got his thinking cap on. For those of us here in the U.S., I guess we will all be buying HP computers. :-(

[tags]dell, computers, china, india, brazil[/tags]